Although Texas Tech fans and coaches would certainly love to see Taurean Henderson as the starter for next season, he will literally have to make the grade in order to do so. Assuming he does get things done in the classroom, he will continue to be a very valuable part of Tech's offense. His ability to function as both an effective running back and receiver is a rare combination. He also has the benefit of having plenty of experience in the Red Raider offense. As a player, he is extremely balanced in all aspects of the game, and is arguably the most versatile running back in the Big 12. Taurean silenced his critics who said he couldn't break the big one with a game-saving 43-yard touchdown run against Kansas last year. He is an asset to the team who will be sorely missed on the field if he does not play next season.
Anyone who attended Spring practices got to watch Shannon Woods come into his own and play more like a Senior than a Redshirt Freshman. He is a Taurean-type running back in that they are similar in size, playing style, and versatility. Expect to see him next season in a role similar to that of Johnnie Mack in the 2004 season. With the possible tandem of Woods and Henderson for next season, the Red Raiders have a double-threat in the backfield that will open up more options by strengthening the running attack. No matter what happens, Woods looks to be a solid replacement for Taurean who will ensure a bright future for Tech's running game.
3) Caesar Martinez
Caesar Martinez is easily the most agile and possibly the fastest of the running backs, but unfortunately that comes at the price of having less size than the others. At 5'7" and 183 pounds, he might have trouble withstanding hits from some of the bigger defensive players. However, Martinez does find ways to use his diminutive size to his advantage. He squeezes through holes and uses his shifty feet to cut quickly in order to avoid defenders. Martinez would probably be best utilized in the outside running game. Still, he needs to develop softer hands in order to have a chance of seeing the field next season.
Taurance Rawls' strength is in getting the hard-fought yards in short-yardage situations. Of all the running backs, he is the most willing to lower a shoulder to earn an extra yard. Unfortunately, his usefulness seems to be limited to running up the middle. When compared with Henderson and Woods' versatility and Martinez's escapability, Rawls simply does not bring much to the table in this aspect. However, he has not had many opportunities to prove himself as of yet, so perhaps he will show us all a little something.